Why Cheapest Commission is No Way To Choose Your Real Estate Agent
When it comes to selling your most valuable asset – your home – you want the best real estate agent, not the cheapest.
It might be tempting or even satisfying to negotiate down a fee, but the few hundred dollars saving now may cost you thousands later. Like most things in life, you’ll get what you pay for and agents who discount commissions will also be cutting corners on the service they offer.
There are many costs associated with selling a home and an agent’s commission, while not negligible, is just one of them. Consider instead the cost of putting your most significant asset into the hands of the wrong person.
Commission and fee levels vary considerably from as low as 1% to 4% and often include additional advertising spend.
Some agents will offer a tiered rate instead of a fixed commission, which means you’ll pay more if they a achieve a higher asking price than anticipated. Both approaches are legitimate, and you must decide which structure you find most comfortable.
Instead of focusing on just the cost of the transaction, you should satisfy yourself that you’re putting the sale of your home into the hands of someone motivated, knows the area and can demonstrate a proven success record of sales.
You should find out if the agent has sold properties similar to yours in the area and ask them to discuss their marketing approach and if they have a network of prospective buyers. It’s also reasonable to ask about how many homes they take on at one time, as this will give you some idea of how much attention they’ll spend on your sale.
Pay attention to whether your agent displays knowledge of how to prepare your property for sale, demonstrates negotiation and settlement skills, and promises a level of service that you’d be happy with.
Here is a checklist of consistent traits of top performing agents:
- Honesty – A great agent will be open and honest in response to your expectations of price, and the time on market for your property.
- Trusted adviser – They’ll suggest pre-sale improvements to the property that will have a positive impact on the price to be achieved. They’ll also share feedback of prospective buyers and offer context for any necessary response.
- Professionalism – They are clear, concise and regular communicators. They possess strong negotiation skills and have the ability to pre-empt buyer needs and fears. Empathy for the seller’s anxiety is foremost in how their approach. They make sure you know they are on your side, and not merely trying to make a quick sale for a commission cheque.
- Skilful marketer – Good agents know how to market a property. They understand the power of great photography and the appropriate investment in advertising required to get a sale at a desirable price and in a reasonable timeframe.
- Thoughtful – They are attentive to the needs of buyers, even to the extent of providing water for those traipsing around “open for inspection” homes on hot Saturday mornings.
- After-sales care – Great agents stay in touch and make sure you were satisfied with the outcome of the campaign and how it was conducted.
Ultimately, focus on the quality of the agent rather than their commission rate to ensure the sale of your property is not a stressful experience.